What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a common cancer for children and teenagers. It is deadly, spreads quickly, and if if not treated, would probably be fatal within months. Leukemia is curable, but not all patients are being cured. Because of this, scientists are working on finding a treatment that will cure all patients, no matter what kind of leukemia they have.
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How It Develops

In general, leukemia is thought to occur when some blood cells start to have mutations in their DNA. Certain abnormalities cause the cell to grow and divide more rapidly and to continue living when normal cells would die. These abnormal cells and crowd out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow. This can lead to fewer healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, causing the signs and symptoms of leukemia.

The Symptoms of Leukemia

-Fever or chills

-Persistent fatigue, weakness

-Frequent or severe infections

-Losing weight without trying

-Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen

-Easy bleeding or bruising

-Recurrent nosebleeds

-Tiny red spots on your skin (petechiae)

-Excessive sweating, especially at night

-Bone pain or tenderness

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What Doctors are Doing Today to Fix Leukemia

A well known and used treatment is chemotherapy. What chemotherapy does it is destroys cancer cells to the point where your doctor can't see them and they will not grow back. Another treatment is consolidation therapy which kills any leukemia cells that may be present even if they do not show up in tests. A third treatment is induction of remission. It kills leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow to induce remission. The last one is maintenance therapy which also prevents and remaining leukemia cells from growing.

How Can You Stay Protected From Leukemia

Common types of leukemia may be prevented by avoiding lots of radiation, exposure to the chemical benzene, smoking and other kinds tobacco use, or certain types of chemotherapy used to treat other types of cancer.

How Long People Have Survived With Leukemia

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia: After 5 years, 39 out of 100 people survived.

Acute myelogenous leukemia: After 5 years, from 5-65 out of 100 people survived.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: After 5 years, 81 out of 100 people survived.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia: After 5 years, 90 out of 100 people survived.


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